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Iran detains British-Iranian, Iranian with British Council Open in fullscreen

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Iran detains British-Iranian, Iranian with British Council

Iran does not recognise dual nationalities [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 May, 2018

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An Iranian-British national and an Iranian working for the British Council who travelled to Iran on a private trip to visit family have been detained in Iran.

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Iran, UK, arrest.

An Iranian-British national and an Iranian working for the British Council who travelled to Iran on a private trip to visit family have been detained in Iran, becoming the latest individuals with Western ties held in the Islamic Republic.

The British Foreign Office told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it was "urgently seeking information from the Iranian authorities" after being asked about the detention of Iranian-British national Mahan Abdein.

Separately, the British Council said in a statement it was aware of the detention of a staffer following the arrest of Iranian national Aras Amiri.

Iranian officials and state media have not reported the arrests. Iran's mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The news website IranWire, created by Iranian-Canadian journalist and one-time Iran detainee Maziar Bahari, first reported the two new detentions.

Abdein, an Iran analyst and director of a company called Dysart Consulting, previously had appeared on Iranian state television, typically a sign of being at least sympathetic to Iran's government.

Circumstances of his arrest remained unclear Wednesday night.

Amiri, identified by IranWire as being a 23-year-old student at Kingston University, was arrested while visiting family on a private trip, the British Council said.

Though the British Embassy in Tehran has reopened, the British Council has been closed since 2009. The council is a non-political organisation that works in education, arts and culture.

"Despite an assertion that this individual has travelled to Iran for work this is not the case," the council said.

Their arrests come after the hard-line paramilitary Revolutionary Guard's arrest of Abbas Edalat, a British-Iranian professor at Imperial College London who actively campaigns against military action targeting his homeland, became public last week.

The semi-official Fars news agency, believed to be close to the Guard, cited an unnamed source accusing Edalat and others from a British group of leading the 2009 unrest in Iran surrounding the disputed re-election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Fars offered no evidence supporting the allegation and named no one other than Edalat at the time.

Iran does not recognise dual nationalities, so detainees like Edalat and Abdein cannot receive consular assistance.

A UN panel in September described "an emerging pattern involving the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of dual nationals" in Iran, which Tehran denied.

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